Policy & Finance

    Dodge Momentum Index Shows Commercial Sector Rise

    In the latest Dodge Momentum Index report, chief economist Richard Branch highlights April’s construction drivers and industry trends. This month, he discusses: A 9% rise in the Commercial Sector The DMI approaches an all-time high Educational building leads Institutional Sector Optimism for solid construction activity The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) is an economic leading indicator for nonresidential building projects, tracking the dollar value of these projects in their earliest stages of planning.

      Proposed Regulatory Overhaul Could Transform Construction Labor Market

      A proposed change to the Department of Labor’s formula for surveying earnings could lead to major wage gains for construction labor. The department uses surveys to determine the prevailing wages in different areas of the country through the 90-year-old Davis-Bacon Act. The act sets wage standards for workers on construction projects backed with federal dollars. The last major change to the rules occurred during the Reagan administration. The department has received some 37,000 comments on the potential update, and Law360… Read More »Proposed Regulatory Overhaul Could Transform Construction Labor Market

        One Sector That’s Booming: Distribution

        New research by Dodge Data & Analytics shows that the warehouse and distribution center market is among the fastest growing building types in the US. In 2010, this vital but practically invisible component of the nation’s infrastructure generated $3.8 billion in construction starts, accounting for 9% of the overall commercial buildings sector. But driven by the rapid growth of e-commerce, compounded by COVID lockdowns and brick-and-mortar retail closures, it is now projected for almost $53 billion of starts in 2022.… Read More »One Sector That’s Booming: Distribution

          Making the Most of Infrastructure Spending

          McKinsey & Company is bullish on the potential benefits of the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but an article from the uber-consultant warns of potential challenges of capacity and coordination. The $550 billion in federal spending may strain public- and private-sector ability to deliver. The BIL includes roughly 240 separate funding streams that will flow to state and local governments either directly, in the form of grants and program funds; or indirectly, through local constituents such as private utilities, businesses,… Read More »Making the Most of Infrastructure Spending

            U.S. Cities Tackle Affordable Housing Crisis

            For one of the richest countries in the world, the U.S. sure does struggle to provide accommodations for its residents. Limited housing stock, rising prices, widening wealth and income gaps, and labor shortages due to COVID and anti-immigration policies contribute to extremely high rates of homelessness and multi-generational adult households. In a 2021 study, the Pew Research Center reports, 70% of young Americans say that they have a harder time buying a home than their parent’s generation did. To combat… Read More »U.S. Cities Tackle Affordable Housing Crisis

              China to Combat Economic Anxiety With Massive Infrastructure Investment

              China’s President Xi Jinping has announced a massive new infrastructure investment to combat further declines in the country’s economic growth, Bloomberg News reports. The total lockdown of Shanghai due to a COVID outbreak and fears of similar action in Beijing have contributed to a declining Yuan and CSI 300 stock index, and Xi’s announcement had the hoped-for immediate effect of spurring a bounce back to both. Prior to the announcement, China already had a $2.3 trillion infrastructure investment in the… Read More »China to Combat Economic Anxiety With Massive Infrastructure Investment

                Biden Signs Executive Order Requiring Labor Agreement for Federal Construction Contracts

                In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order with considerable ramifications for the construction industry. The order (EO 14063) requires project labor agreements on stateside federal construction contracts of $35 million or more. An article about the order, published in the National Law Review, characterizes project labor agreements as “a collective bargaining agreement between a contractor and the building trade union on a specific construction project.” Among the provisions in EO 14063, the National Law Review notes that the… Read More »Biden Signs Executive Order Requiring Labor Agreement for Federal Construction Contracts

                  Proposed Regulatory Updates Will Affect Worker Pay

                  A flood of money is about to hit the construction industry, thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law late last year. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the U.S. Department of Labor is updating the rules determining worker pay on federal construction jobs, first set by the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which tied the size of paychecks to prevailing local wage rates. Labor law firm Fisher & Phillips outlines some of the major changes in… Read More »Proposed Regulatory Updates Will Affect Worker Pay

                    Federal Agency Adopts Lower-Carbon Asphalt and Concrete Standards

                    The U.S. General Services Administration is one of the nation’s biggest landlords. As part of its sweeping mandate, the agency maintains thousands of government properties and constructs federal court houses, office buildings, border stations, and other structures nationwide. So when GSA adopts new construction standards — usually after exhaustive study and participation by the private sector — the building industry as a whole takes notice. In March, GSA announced new standards for asphalt and concrete used in construction. Why target… Read More »Federal Agency Adopts Lower-Carbon Asphalt and Concrete Standards

                      Agriculture and Infrastructure, an Enlightening Relationship

                      A speaker at the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s 2022 Outlook Forum, which occurred last month, revealed some interesting geopolitical tension around infrastructure. According to Drovers, Elizabeth C. Economy, senior advisor for China in the U.S. Department of Commerce, says that participants are souring on China’s Belt and Road Initiative: “Many countries have infrastructure needs that other lenders or donors couldn’t or wouldn’t meet that China fulfilled,” Economy says. “A lot of these Belt and Road projects are done for geostrategic reasons.… Read More »Agriculture and Infrastructure, an Enlightening Relationship